On Wednesday, sci-fi author Charles Yu was awarded the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction for his satirical novel Interior Chinatown. The honor was declared by advisory group seat Roxane Gay, who drove a board of judges in perusing 388 entries, narrowing it down to five finalists before eventually choosing Yu as the champ.
Yu has composed on various network shows, including Lodge 49 and Legion, and furthermore filled in as an author and story editorial manager on season one of HBO’s Westworld and accumulated two Writers Guild of America Award designations for his work on the program.
The entertainment biz runs in his blood as his sibling, Kelvin Yu, composes for and voices characters on Bob’s Burgers, played Brian Yang on Master of None, and apparently has a part in Wonder Woman 1984.
Remembered for Vulture’s “32 Books We Can’t Wait to Read,” Interior Chinatown is “a bildungsroman for the binge-watch generation” that follows Willis Wu, a Taiwanese-American entertainer, who yearns to move on from playing bit parts like Disgraced Son, Delivery Guy, Striving Immigrant, and Generic Asian Man, and handled the pined for function of Kung Fu Guy.
Written as a TV content for a Law and Order–style crime show called “Black and White,” Interior Chinatown makes one wonder: “Can Willis ever land the leading role in his own life, or is he doomed to forever have a bit part in American culture?” Congrats to Yu and hopefully that he finds a route once again into the Westworld’s authors’ space for its exceptionally open-finished fourth season.
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